EURO 2024 Report: Austria 0 - 1 France

Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates with teammates after Maximilian Woeber of Austria (not pictured) concedes an own goal after deflecting a cross during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Austria and France at Düsseldorf Arena

Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates with teammates after Maximilian Woeber of Austria (not pictured) concedes an own goal after deflecting a cross during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Austria and France at Düsseldorf Arena Credit: Photo by Matt McNulty - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

France didn’t exactly step forward and claim the favourites tag for this tournament with a dominant performance against Austria in Düsseldorf. However, they did emerge with a 1-0 victory over the Austrians who pressed Didier Deschamps’ side right to the final whistle with only a first half own goal being the difference between the sides on the scoreboard. 

It is quite an open tournament with the pundits name dropping teams such as Spain, England, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Netherlands all as potential EURO 2024 winners.

France is of course a team to be added to that list – unsurprisingly since Deschamps has led his country to the final in three of the last four World Cups and European Championships. 

It took the French side, wearing their thin blue and red line pinstripe white shirt, till the 38th minute to break down the thin red line of the Austrian defence. The opener came courtesy of a red shirt. 

Philip Mwene coughed up the ball playing it to Kylian Mbappe when he really wasn’t under any pressure. The Madrid bound player took the ball to the endline and his cut back was inexplicably headed back into the goal and there was nothing that keeper Patrick Pentz could do.

Austria should have scored three minutes before the OG. Florian Grillitsch’s cross found Marcel Sabitzer whose deft touch allowed Michael Gregoritsch in on goal but Mike Maignan’s trailing leg saved the French.

The two sides set up without the ball very differently. Austria went with Ralf Rangnick’s hard press. Their gegenpress flooded the French half at times to try and force a mistake.

Deschamps’ team meanwhile were happy to let the Austrians have the ball – Mbappe and Griezmann just took up the space in front of their opposition defence rather than pushing on.

N’Golo Kanté slotted in right in front of the French back four with Adrien Rabiot alongside him. The Juventus midfielder though was given permission to get forward and one run in the 17th minute from deep right through the middle carved Austria open.

Of course the French threathened down the left and as early as the eighth minute Mbappe forced Pentz into a save – he had to get down low to his right to push the skipper’s effort around the post.

Theo Hernandez flashed a cross right across the six yard box from the left but there was no number nine there to force it home – Olivier Giroud was only introduced in second half injury time.

The second half opened with Griezmann’s forehead being opened up and a thin red line of blood appearing above his eyes when Wober’s shoulder saw the Atlético Madrid forward forced into the advertising hoardings. 

Ten minutes into the half Mbappe was clean through on goal ahead of Max Wöber who, already on a booking, couldn’t really put a challenge in but incredibly the French captain bent the ball wide of the Austrian goal when it was completely at his mercy. 

Pentz was pressed into a save in the 67th minute after some sustained attacking pressure from France – Marcus Thuram’s effort was blocked by a strong hand from the Austrian keeper. Thuram had a couple more chances but showed no ruthlessness in front of goal.

The French couldn’t seem to exploit the space that was around them if they could beat the Austrian press and they needed a brave save from Maignan at the feet of Baumgartner to save them late on.

Mbappe picked up a nasty facial injury that took any momentum out of the game – he wandered back onto the pitch without the Spanish referee’s permission and picked up a card before being withdrawn.

Ultimately though Les Bleus took the points away with them. Next up France will face the Netherlands on Friday in Leipzig, while Poland will play Austria in Berlin.

Austria: Patrick Pentz; Stefan Posch, Kevin Danso, Maximilian Wöber (Gernot Trauner 59), Phillipp Mwene (Alexander Prass 88); Nicolas Seiwald, Marcel Sabitzer; Konrad Laimer, Christoph Baumgartner, Florian Grillitsch (Patrick Wimmer 59); Michael Gregoritsch (Marko Arnautovic 59).
Subs not used: Niklas Hedl, Heinz Lindner, Leopold Querfeld, Flavius Daniliuc, Philipp Lienhart, Florian Kainz, Romano Schmid, Matthias Seidl, Marco Grull, Maximilian Entrup, Andreas Weimann.
Booked: Maximilian Wober (16), Phillipp Mwene (34).

France: Mike Maignan; Jules Kounde, William Saliba, Dayot Upamecano, Theo Hernandez; Antoine Griezmann (Youssouf Fofana 90), N'Golo Kanté, Adrien Rabiot (Eduardo Camavinga 71); Ousmane Dembele (Randal Kolo Muani 71), Kylian Mbappe (Olivier Giroud 90), Marcus Thuram.
Subs not used: Brice Samba, Alphonse Areola, Benjamin Pavard, Ferland Mendy, Jonathan Clauss, Ibrahima Konaté, Aurélien Tchouameni, Warren Zaïre-Emery, Kingsley Coman, Bradley Barcola.
Booked: Kylian Mbappe (90).

Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (Spain). Player of the Match: N'Golo Kanté (France)